Kenya’s First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Thursday said that African governments are taking proactive measures aimed at ensuring the travel and tourism sector contributes more to the continent’s economy.
She said African governments have resolved to collectively work together as a team to sustainably utilize and grow the sector for wealth and job creation.
“This sector has the potential to accelerate Africa’s progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 8, on the promotion of decent work and economic growth and, Goal 9 that targets industry, innovation and infrastructure,” the First Lady said.
First Lady Margaret Kenyatta spoke when she delivered the key note address at the ongoing World Travel and Tourism Council summit in Seville, Spain.
The First Lady said in its quest to develop the sector, Kenya has taken several measures including torching of ivory and rhino horns to deter poaching of wildlife.
She said through these radical measures the country has seen a decline in poaching noting that the enhanced wildlife law enforcement and aggressive anti-poaching interventions are showing results.
“Since 1989 to date, Kenya has burned a total of 137 tonnes of ivory and 1.5 tonnes of rhino horns,” she said.
She said the global summit provides a platform to strengthen the collective resolve to eradicate illegal wildlife trade, to build coalitions and to find solutions to better protect wildlife.
The First Lady observed that the international ban on commercial ivory trade including China’s commitment in 2016 has been a powerful catalyst in curbing the growing demand for wildlife products.
“The African Elephant Coalition, a consortium of 29 African member countries, have joined forces to strongly advocate for the total ban on wildlife trade,” she said.
She said, the travel and tourism sector is linked to virtually all other economic activities and is therefore a key determinant of the future of African economies.
“Intricate linkages relate tourism to the entire economic development ecosystem including agriculture, education, infrastructure and information communication technology positioning this sector to be among the leading catalysts for the future of Africa,” First Lady Margaret Kenyatta noted.
The Kenyan First Lady said the future of the travel and tourism sector largely rests on the stakeholders willingness to collectively manage the vulnerabilities that impede its progress.
She underscored the importance of the sector to Africa’s economy citing current world tourism statistics which ranks Africa second in the world. In 2018, the sector contributed$194.2 billion representing 8.5 percent of the continent’s GDP.